The Los Angeles Lakers are moving toward a critical offseason where the team hopes to makes considerable roster changes. The Lakers are eying building another championship contender around their star players. With that in mind, the front office should avoid attempting to land Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons.
Lakers expect major roster changes ahead
The Lakers fell well short of vying for a second straight NBA title after a disappointing first-round playoff exit.
Los Angeles struggled with significant injuries while the supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn’t provide stable play.
The final nail in the coffin came after Davis suffered a groin injury, effectively taking him out of the series against the Phoenix Suns. It marked the first time in James’ career he failed to move past the first round of the playoffs.
As the Lakers move toward the offseason, the franchise will explore many routes to improve the roster. One of which shouldn’t be making a push to acquire Simmons.
Lakers must avoid the urge to trade for Ben Simmons
If the 76ers elect to explore the trade market, plenty of suitors will line up to acquire the All-Star point guard.
Among them could be the Lakers due to eyeing a considerable roster shakeup ahead of the 2021-22 season. Los Angeles may not have much to offer, but any interest in the 24-year-old will draw connections through his representation by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports.
Any push to acquire Ben Simmons comes with some serious questions as his playing style doesn’t intertwine with the team’s star power. His inability to shoot from the outside would conflict with James’ role.
The four-time league MVP has expanded his game to be an effective 3-point shooter, but Simmons’ presence would only allow opposing defenses to pack the paint. That was the case in the playoffs, as the Suns put several defenders closer to the rim, daring other Lakers to shoot the ball from beyond the arc.
Simmons would undoubtedly provide a vital asset defensively, while his passing would create more scoring opportunities for teammates. At the same time, it would only ignore the issue of needing another prominent player who can create their offense. Simmons’ $33 million salary for the 2021-22 season would also further limit Los Angeles financially from adding more talent.
The LSU product hasn’t reached the point of being a reliable scorer due to his outside shooting and free-throw line shortcomings. Until he can prove to be a viable factor in both regards, his impact offensively is limited and would be a sidestep and not a progression forward for Los Angeles.
Remain better served to shift focus elsewhere
It’s no secret the Lakers desire notable roster changes this upcoming offseason.
However, that focus sits better served toward adding another backcourt talent. Los Angeles remains linked to possible interest in pursuing Kyle Lowry despite being scheduled to hit the free-agent market. Unfortunately, like any other big-splash moves, the only route the front office can take is a sign-and-trade due to its limited financial space.
The Lakers have the bargaining chip of including Kyle Kuzma as he begins his three-year, $39 million deal next season. Kuzma holds a $13 million salary in the 2021-22 campaign, making his contract a vital part of any sign-and-trade scenario.
Los Angeles will have to deal with diminished league-wide interest in his service due to his disappointing play during this year’s playoffs. Nonetheless, the Lakers are eyeing other routes toward improving the roster to maximize the championship window with their star players.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.